martedì 28 maggio 2013
giovedì 23 maggio 2013
domenica 19 maggio 2013
sabato 11 maggio 2013
Please take note that I think that humped backed relationship is probably false, not because we need to be mechanistic as is said in the conclusions of the paper or because nature is more complicated than claimed by Grime – when you say that a thing is complicated it means that you don’t understand it – but because we know almost nothing about the relationship between diversity and productivity in forests, where productivity is much more difficult to sample. The relationship in forests is probably linear (but the highest productiviiesy are lower than the peak in herbaceous communities), but nobody can say. There are a few very productive forests, for instance locust tree populations.
But background is just a fragment of the picture. There is a more profound phylosophical underlying contrast, revealed by the frequent use in debates of term “mechanistic”. The Law of Gravitation is not mechanistic, it is phenomenological (strange to an ecoogist but true); Newton didn’t provide a mechanism for the attraction among the bodies; he explained with the force of attraction among the bodies the patterns of motion of planets obsreved by Kepler. I bet that an ecologist would have criticized him, and it must be said that Newton was actually criticized for not providing a mechanism by a few – mainly by aristotelians. The contrast between the dominant and the minority schools of ecology is the fundamental contrast between aristotelians and platonics. Ecology is largely aristotelic, physics is largely platonic. Galileo was condemned not because he was copernican – the theory was admitted as possible by the chief of the Vatican astronomers, the jesuit Christophorus Clavius – but because in the book “Dialogue concerning the two chied systems of the World” he ridiculized the aristotelian Simplicius. There is a famous ecology blogger that is ostensibly similar to Simplicius to any ecologist that have read the (fantaastic) book of Galileo. A platonic sees the regularity of mathematics in the apparently messiness of phenomena – in phylosophical terms he believes in the reality of universals – whereas Aristotelians thinks that regularities do not exist – universals do not exist - and it is impossible to convince him of the opposite. But it is impossible to do science if you believe that mathematical regularities do not exist, and this is the reason why Galileo adopted a rather neoplatonic point of view - he says that the book of nature is written in mathematical language, a typical platonism – and attacked harshly the aristotelians (eventually succumbing) and why Aristoteles is still actual in the politics, in literature, and logic, but his physics and to a lesser extent biology are close to superstition.
martedì 7 maggio 2013
lunedì 6 maggio 2013
Middle Age lasted 1000 years. The Reinessance was largely a rediscovery of the wisdom and techniques of the ancients, but this rediscovery gave new life to the undoubtedly innovative ideas of Christianity. For instance, the idea of equality was substantially alien to the Ancient, that could not put on the same plane an aristocrat, a plebeian, or a slave, and was introduced into the estern Civilization by Christianism, and yet it became a leading idea only in XVIII century, almost two thousaad years after the “Tale of the Mountain”. We are entering in an era of regression, must we await after 1000 years a Reinessance where the power of informatic turns from regressive to progressive?
giovedì 2 maggio 2013
But fascists building are all but machines for living. They must impress and terrify, not be friendly. Huge staircaases, disproportionate volumes, a tendence to be higher than large. The style is the same - blocks, rows of frameless windows - but the meaning is opposite.